A recent article on CFO.com and in CFO magazine discussed how CFOs of companies around the world are increasingly involved in … and proponents of … sustainability initiatives. The article cites several cases of once-skeptical CFOs who are now on the the sustainability bandwagon. A few of these, like the man who is CFO of Henkel Corp.’s North American business, see CFO involvement in sustainability as an essential ingredient of business success. Of course! Sustainability involves investments, ROI, data and metrics … all naturally within the purview of CFOs and financial teams.
Increasingly, one of the main constituencies of CFOs, the investment community, is demanding information about and action on issues related to sustainable business practices. The article cites Ernst + Young study data that found that nearly 50% of public companies’ shareholder proposals this proxy season dealt with environmental and social issues, up from 40% in the 2011 proxy season. And one finance-relevant area of keen interest to investors, according the the E+Y study, is supply chain sustainability. Yes, that wonderful business process that procures, moves, stores, distributes and reclaims good and services – of interest to investors! Not surprising to me … supply chain management holds a lot of financial levers, many of which play out in a sustainability contest. So get on board you CFOs … join the sustainability team!!